Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Thacker Mountain Radio & Square Books

Thacker Mountain Radio has been around for 18 years. but became the kind of quiet success that a city sometimes keeps to itself. The program combines live book readings and musical performances in a high-brow live radio hour. More here.

Today the live musical performances are from the Square in Oxford, MS. But originally back in 1997, they performed ad a bar called Blind Jim’s. The show debuted as the "Words and Music Community Radio Hour." At the time there were four weekly live music programs broadcast out of different venues in little Oxford, MS. Yes I said "little". The population of Oxford today is barely over 20,000 people. For reference Cheyenne, WY is over 60,000. In other words, Oxford had one weekly live music radio show per 5,00 residents.

Words and Music began as a collaboration between Square Books owner Richard Howorth, and the band The Sincere Ramblers. That program is now hosted by Jim Dees every Thursday at 6:00 PM in front of 200 peopel at Square books and has been since 2000.  Since 2001 it's been carried on Mississippi Public Radio the following Saturday night at 7:00 PM. What they don't mention in their official biography is that prior to 2001 the program was only carried on 95.5 WOXD, a blues radio station. Travel books continued to mention WOXD until at least 2007. I am unsure if the relationship continues.

There's no definitive list of MPB stations carrying the program but it sounds like it's the whole network: including WMAH 90.3 Biloxi,  WMAE 89.5 Booneville, WMAU 88.9, Bude, WMAO 90.9 Greenwood,  WMPN 91.3 Jackson, WMAW 88.1 Meridian, WMAB 89.9  Jackson, and  WMAV 90.3 right in Oxford.